04-May-2021 - Ascenion GmbH

BioVaria Startup Awards go to iRASP Therapeutics and OrganoTherapeutics

New platform for developing therapeutic antibodies against cancer and new approach to the development of drugs for Parkinson’s disease

This year’s virtual BioVaria from 26 to 28 April brought together 250 life-science innovators to hear about the most exciting technologies and start-ups to emerge from publicly funded European research, and to initiate partnerships between science and business. With 75 licensable projects and 16 selected start-ups, this was the biggest portfolio ever presented at BioVaria. The virtual format allowed a greater number of live presentations via parallel streams, each followed by a moderated question and answer session. Industry representatives, investors, entrepreneurs, scientists and technology transfer experts enjoyed in-depth discussions that could be continued in one-on-one virtual, but nevertheless confidential, meetings. 70 research institutes, universities and university hospitals from 7 European countries contributed technologies to the portfolio, in close cooperation with the 16 technology transfer partners of this year’s BioVaria.

The Startup Pitch & Partner programme, with its pitching competition and individual speed-dating sessions for entrepreneurs and investors, met with considerable interest. The winners of this year’s BioVaria Startup Awards were the Italian start-up iRASP Therapeutics in the ‘Emerging’ category, and OrganoTherapeutics from Luxembourg in the ‘Rising’ category. Both beat six other selected start-ups, convincing a jury of experienced investors with their technologies and business models. iRASP Therapeutics has created a new platform for developing therapeutic antibodies against cancer. It allows tumour-specific antibodies to be identified unbiasedly, without prior knowledge of their target structures. OrganoTherapeutics is pursuing a new approach to the development of drugs for Parkinson’s disease. The start-up is using patient-specific models, so-called brain organoids, in order to identify therapeutic agents that can reverse brain-damaging processes.

‘We are delighted to receive this award. It motivates us to improve our organoid model in order to discover new therapies for Parkinson’s disease,’ said Prof. Jens C. Schwamborn, cofounder and CEO of OrganoTherapeutics.

‘We are thrilled to be selected for the Biovaria Emerging Startup Award. The award provides us with important recognition of our start-up concept and will help to launch our endeavour towards developing novel innovative antibody therapeutics,’ stated Dr Paul E Massa, Lead Scientist of iRASP Therapeutics.

A welcome and popular addition to this year’s programme was a satellite workshop on controversial issues in European patent law. An experienced patent examiner from the European Patent Office shared his professional viewpoint on patenting computer-implemented innovations, such as AI-supported life-science technologies.

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    OrganoTherapeutics SARL

    OrganoTherapeutics use cutting-edge human-specific mini-brains for the discovery and development of effective drug candidates targeting Parkinson’s disease. We screen for novel compounds which can be therapeutic for different patient sub-groups. OrganoTherapeutics is a spin-off project fro ... more